Where does China’s 50 cent army 五毛/网军 come from? Imprisoned dissidents like Xiao Yiwu once wrote his book that many prison inmates were offered a reduction of sentence by working in prison sweatshops. Those who hit certain quotas were granted paroles or even a reduction of prison time. Xiao wrote that many of the inmates worked 18 hours a day to get out of prison fast.
What about working online to make it look like millions of people are supporting or believing the official narrative? Like Russia’s troll factories, prisoners in China could be recruited as cyber mercenaries working for the state.